I had been to this small, cozy Brasilian restaurant when it had a live band, lots of comfy loveseats and cafe tables, a glass pastry display shelf, and a lively staff and customer audience about 2 years ago. However, in our recent visit there was NO TRACE of the same restaurant.
Upon entering, the bright overhead fluorescent lights blinded us, reminding me. No cafe tables, no cozy chairs, no pastry display, no band, no diners...just one man,sitting at a table eating dinner and watching Brasilian soccer on the TV. He turned out to be the cook, waiter, dishwasher, and manager.. The restaurant had really cheap dining tables (think card tables) and metal chairs. No decor.. And there was no air-conditioning, yet 86 degrees outside. He must have been cutting corners, but sheesh! that is not the way to do it.
What should have alerted us was what the man (the cook) was eating: some kind of gravy covered meat and french fries. Ethnic restaurants should focus on their native foods, and when the cook resorts to American cuisine--previously frozen steak fries--that speaks of laziness and frugality.
Nevertheless we ordered.a meat dish with a type of yucca and starch dish. It was supposed to come with a salad and bread. However, it took almost 45 minutes for the food to arrive and it did not have the salad. There was no bread, and when we asked we were told it had run out (??). The meat was nothing I could recognize, though it had been labeled as beef on the menu. The yucca was just that, shredded and cooked yucca. My partner's dish had a different name but turned out to be the same thing.
No wonder the restaurant was empty during busy season in Sarasota! BTW, it appears the website for Rio Samba is no longer working, and I suspect it is now out of business.
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